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THE    ARTISTIC    LIFE                   297

merely to indicate the contour of shapes of things, acquire a
bold freedom of their own, so in Chinese architecture the pillars
in walls, or rafters and beams in roofs, instead of being hidden
in shame, are frankly glorified and become important elements
in giving structural form to the buildings. In Chinese buildings
the whole structural framework is, as it were, purposefully
revealed in full to us. We simply like to see these structural
lines, as indicating the basic pattern of the building, as we
like to see the rhythmic sketches of outline in painting which
stand for the substance of objects for us. For that reason, the
wooden framework is usually revealed in house-walls, and the
rafters and beams are left visible both inside and outside the

This arises from a well-known principle in calligraphy, the
principle of "framework,** or chienchia. Among the various
strokes of a character, we usually choose a horizontal or a
vertical stroke, or sometimes an enveloping square, which is
regarded as giving support to the rest, and this stroke we must
make powerfully and make longer, more obvious than the
others. Having obtained support in this main stroke, the
other strokes will cluster round it or take their point of departure
from it. Even in the design of a group of buildings, there is a
principle of axis> as there is an axis in most Chinese characters*
The whole city-planning of Peiping, old Peking, one of the
most beautiful cities of the world, is due very largely to an
invisible axis of several miles running north and south from
the outermost front gate, right across the Emperor's throne,
to the Coal Hill central pavilion and the Drum Tower behind.
This axis is clearly visible in the character for "middle" or
ckang^ %*, and in other characters, like g ^ HE ft p *

Perhaps more important than the principle of a straight
axis is the use of curves, wavy lines, or irregular rhythmic
lines to contrast with the straight lines. This is most clearly
seen in the Chinese roofs. Every Chinese temple or palace
building or mansion is based, in its essence, upon the combin-
ation or contrast of the straight vertical lines of the pillars and
the curved lines of the roof. The roof itself contains a contrast
between the straight line at the ridge and the sagging line
below* This is due to our training in calligraphy in which we